The hot topic facing the legislature and OHV recreation is the re-authorization of the OHMVR Program. While the OHV community is pushing to reauthorize the program “as is”, the opponents of OHV recreation are insisting on significant changes.
Change always brings about unintended consequences. During the last re-authorization push in 2007 which lead to SB-742, it was found that significant changes occurred in the program that resulted in the major component of the OHMVR Program, the grants (aka ‘green-sticker’ grants) resulted in a hiatus unto new regulations administering the grants program could be developed.
As noted in an OHMVR Division letter of February 14, 2008 to “Interested Parties” with the subject of, “Subject: Public Participation and Request for Written Input—OHMVR Grant Program Regulations”, the interested parties were advised the legislation (SB-742) made substantial changes and required a one year delay in issuing grants.
Quoted from the letter (copy attached):
In October, 2007, Senate Bill 742 was signed into law. This law made some important changes governing the off-highway motor vehicle recreation program in general, and the Local Assistance Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program (Grants Program) in particular. These changes require amendments to the regulations that govern the Grants Program. The Division welcomes public participation in the process. In fact, SB 742 highlights public input, including focus groups, as an integral part of developing the regulations that govern the grant program.
Based on this, even if SB-249 was a bill that most OHV stakeholders support (which it is not), it would trigger the same need to promulgate new regulations (and hence the minimum one year pause in grants) because it makes numerous significant changes to the current program.
A one year pause would have a devastating effect on our many local, county, federal, and non-profit partners that are an integral part of the current grants program. It means that trail maintenance (including post-storm and post-fire) efforts would have to be postponed, no funding to Law Enforcement programs, and no funding for important restoration efforts. Recreation and Law Enforcement staff in many partner agencies would have to be laid off.
It remains my hope that the OHV partner community will support efforts to reauthorize the program as outlined in AB1077.